Goods and Services: July 2008 Archives

Aberdeen, Dino's, AAA

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This has really been the summer of car troubles. Part of it is my own fault, since I decided to buy the Mountaineer (which I still want to hug to sleep at night), but the litany of stuff that's had to be done and the number of trips I've made to Aberdeen (ie: Aberdeen Auto Body at 1043 Fulton Market) have gone right past the point of being in any way funny.

Let me just say up front that I trust Aberdeen - and I don't just say that because this whole site is identified with me and they might well read it and be mean to me (as all tradesmen are wont to do to the effete who are required to patronise them) - but I've used them for years now and even if I didn't trust them, I like them. Best of all they're also nearby.

It used to be that they were so close that I could take a 3 minute walk and get to them, back when we used to live on May St. But even now they're not that far away, and Wayne the office manager has gotten used to loaning me his car when repairs take more than an hour.

I'm normally content to sit around at Dino's (at 954 W Fulton Market, a lovely working man's bar in the middle of the meat packing district, two blocks away from Aberdeen) have steak and eggs and watch the news, but once it gets to an hour, I can't just keep hanging around. Dino's also serves probably the best French Toast I've ever had anywhere, much less in Chicago, and they serve steaks (also in the form of superb steak fajitas) that are to die for.

Anyway it'd be way too depressing for me to go through the list of stuff I had to have done, though for the number of times I had to ping pong back there, the price tag wasn't as prohibitive as you might think. Suffice to say ball bearings, wheel alignment, tail light, windshield washers, driver's side lock. In the end it's not the parts that added up so much as the labour, which is fair enough, given how much time and tsuris it all came out to. But that might just be me being too accustomed to dealing with them - feel free to disabuse me and hand me an "easy mark" sign round my neck.

Right now I'm waiting for AAA to turn up. I must say that paying for AAA is just worth the price of admission. Getting roadside service through your insurance might cost less, but in terms of full service whereever and whenever it's needed, AAA doesn't disappoint.

Turns out that the minor problem that appeared to be the air conditioning in monkey's Saab is more likely to have to do with the alternator (of which the AC failing is a symptom, I belatedly discover), and apparently that means somehow that the steering on the Saab is now like pulling through molasses - I assume it's all got to do with the power steering etc. Needless to say it's not driveable, and hence the need for a tow. I'm hoping that maneuvering out of the rather straightened underground garage isn't just too much to ask.

I love my new chair. monkey wanted to go for a drive and we ended up popping in to DWR (Design Within Reach). They were having a floor sale, so I managed to get a display model of the "Air Chair" for about $70, which is a steal. It's comfortable beyond all expectation and yet provides all the back support you could ever desire. I suppose it' probably meant as an outdoor chair (hence the little handle-hole for "drainage"), but I'm using it in my office now an it's fantastic. Mine is white, rather than the pictured blue.

We also bought a bar stool that turns out to be too high for our kitchen counter, but it's just too pretty to return.  Currently it's positioned right at the corner end of the counter, so as to not be too obtrusive in comparison to the two chairs that are the right height. But I've had to stack my laptop on top of an "overlap" in order for me to be able to comfortably use my laptop while on the chair. It's nice and tall though. Probably not the most comfortably thing for long term use, but that has its advantages too. Ours has a brown seat with white lining. Also got it for half price.

Went to Office Depot to get things to help organise my room a little more, and managed to get myself not to succumb to paying $12 for wire mesh magazine holder when the plastic ones do very nicely at 4 for $14. Cheap and cheerful honestly, though I think the clear ones are the way to go. Bought an in/out tray from the same "collection" - which is stackable so I can make 4 levels up to the height of a shelf. I'm using the lowest shelf as my recycling bin for the time being. (Pictures below)

Bought the uber coin sorter thing, so my career as a bus-conductor cannot be far off. Also got my Chawly changer. Have decided that my pepper spray and torch will be a seperate "night-time only" attachment to my keychain since the changer is small but not that small.

God damn it's hot. I've been considering flashing some sort of "bat-signal" for Maggie, but I'm not sure it'd be much use or good. Wonder when Mark's going to show up for the "end of the month". Hopefully he'll be up for some lamp and fan installation.

Small Designs

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There are ways in which my life has just gotten smaller. I seem to focus in on small things - fidgeting with the detail in order to turn them the corner.

It's been plaguing my mind since John(?) at Aberdeen brought it up, that the issues with my front windscreen washer may have been due to the alarm being installed. In the end I had had the car for so little time before the alarm was put in so I can't know for sure either way. And they mostly fiddled with the wiring from the door. But again, whatever. Everything's fine. I'm hoping talking about it will help exorcise it from my head.

Even though it meant repairs and money etc., the new BugMobile is now pretty much tip top, and I should just be happy. The rear washer doesn't work, but that really isn't that big a problem. The tail light is fixed, the door lock now works, and the suspension is much much better. Someone even called up with a parking space I may get to rent from August onwards. I suppose it must be an owner who's been renting their spot to another renter.

But yes, small things. My OPT card should arrive in the next couple of days, if not next week. Once that happens I've promised to tidy up my room and get rid of all kinds of clutter. I should apply for a couple more jobs.

But while all the waiting is happening, I've been taking lots of advantage of - where they list deals. I've bought my favorite new pair of shoes from there for about $10, a laptop cooler today for about $12 or so after a rebate (the envelope is already on my desk waiting for the UPC to arrive). It also got me my new favorite flashlight, which I've been keeping on my keyring - especially now I don't have two sets of house keys anymore. It led me on my whole crusade to find PAR20 sized floods that use LEDs.

Also on my keyring is a canister of pepper spray, which is fun. I haven't tried it out yet with the inert training canisters, but we'll see. I got it from the same place I got my baton. I suspect if I hung a utility knife on top, the christmas tree would just fall over. Not to mention if I added a coin change thingy. Though I've been tempted by the kind used by bus conductors.

If you go to, you too can buy a Fat Cell, just like you'd get at the MCA giftstore, which is a lovely place. I now also have a pair of one silver and one gold dice that are spherical.

I've been watching episode after episode of Grand Designs, which is a fantastic series. I had seen an episode years ago back in the UK without realising it was part of this series. If you have an interest in buildings and architecture, there's really no better series. Rule No. 1 in building your own house: always spend the money to hire a professional project manager, but also make sure your architect has someone who can do the engineering and materials side, and a quantity surveyor is not optional. The host is then spookily like Butternut Squash (Matthew McFadyen), who played a surveyor in Shooting the Past.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Goods and Services category from July 2008.

Goods and Services: June 2008 is the previous archive.

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